Sustainability 101

Giant Cardboard Structure Makes Big Statement About Recycling, Again

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sketch of recycling display

On April 18th, Great Forest recycling consultant Sandra Robishaw unveiled a giant cardboard structure, which she designed and built over ten hours with the help of her son Daniel.

The attention-grabbing tower was installed in the lobby of 480 Washington Boulevard in Jersey City to make a big statement about recycling and waste – it was constructed out of hundreds of cardboard trays from the building’s cafeteria that had been discarded instead of recycled.

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full-size built model of the recycling display

Great Forest created a similar cardboard tower for the building last year. That structure sparked so much talk about recycling that the building’s managers wanted to bring it back for Earth Day this year. (Also see Great Forest’s Paper Lake.)

“Sustainability is a continuous process of implementation and education,” says Sandra, “so we thought it was a great idea to create a new structure to keep the conversation growing.”

Working with the building’s cleaning crew, Sandra rescued cardboard trays from the trash, glued them to a tall paper cylinder, which was then suspended from the lobby wall. To emphasize the message, she designed the structure to sprout up from a giant blue recycling container.

Great Forest experts were stationed next to the structure to talk to the curious and answer questions.

“It was a big hit,” says Sandra. “Many people who would usually just walk through the lobby stopped and learned something about recycling and waste.”

Recycling by the Numbers:

Each week, the number of trays used at the building, when stacked, would equal the height of the lobby cardboard structure. Of the approximately 135,200 cardboard trays used each year, only about half are separated out for recycling. This means 6 tons of cardboard cafeteria trays end up in landfills instead of being recycled.

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